Bulldogs defeat Darlington, travel to A.C. Flora Tuesday night
Marlboro County advanced to the third round of the state Class AAAA playoffs with a 75-54 victory over Darlington Saturday night. They will play A.C. Flora Tuesday evening in Columbia.
The winner will face the winner of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach in the Lower State Championship on Friday at the Florence Civic Center.
After a sluggish second quarter and with three starters in foul trouble, Marlboro County's playoff run looked to be in jeopardy against the Falcons.
However, the Bulldogs mounted a furious third-quarter rally in which they roared back from three points down to take a 20- point lead.
Wesley Brown hit a pair of free throws with 5:58 left in the third to give Marlboro a 31-30 lead. The Bulldogs would not trail again.
Jamiek McCoy hit a three-pointer, Brown scored on a jump shot and McCoy scored on a drive to spark a 17-1 run over three minutes that completely flipped control of the game.
When senior forward Ryan Dupree scored from under the basket in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, the Bulldog lead had grown to 55-35.
The Falcons cut the lead to 14 in the final minutes but six consecutive free throws by Brown, Dupree and McCoy sealed the victory.
Dupree led the Bulldogs offensively with 18 points. He also had a dominating game on the boards, leading all players in rebounds.
McCoy had 16, Dre Scott 15, Brown 11, Oliver 7, Tyler Thomas 3, Keiran Leviner 2 and Caleb Brown 2.
Scouting A.C. Flora
The Falcons were the winners of Region IV with a 9-1 record. Overall, the team has a 25-3 record.
They reached the third round by outlasting Aiken, 52-49. The Falcons defeated Hartsville 54-45 in the first round.
The team is led by a couple of all-state players, junior point guard Robert McCray, and senior center Patrick Iriel. Iriel, 6'10" and 235 pounds, has signed a scholarship offer with the University of South Carolina.
Joshua Staley is the head coach of the Falcons.
The Falcons last faced Marlboro County in the opening round of the 2016-17 playoffs, defeating the Bulldogs 75-58. A.C. Flora won the state title the preceding year.